COOS BAY -- A relatively new trend in cosmetic surgery has arrived on the South Coast.

CoolSculpting, a technique known as cryolipolysis, freezes fat cells through the skin. It will be available at North Bend Medical Center after March 11.

The method has been used since 2010, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device, which is owned by Zeltiq. Now, it has worked its way to Dr. Steven Tersigni's practice.

In the procedure, a noninvasive applicator resembling the suction end on a vacuum freezes the area. The skin is affected temporarily, Tersigni said.

"It sucks the tissue up," he said. "The sensation is that you feel cold for the first five minutes or so, then you don't feel anything as the process continues."

He said the area can be numb for one to two weeks and likely will be bruised and tender. The procedure takes one or two hours, so can be done during someone's lunch break, he said. Multiple applications usually are needed and it takes several months to see results, he said.

"It's really kind of an interesting technology," Tersigni said.

Most people lose about 20 percent of their fat in treated areas, which doesn't grow back, he said. Instead, the body rids it as it would any other waste, through urine or feces, he said.

"It's not for the obese," Tersigni said. "It's for those difficult pockets of fat they've had their whole life and can't get rid of."

Tersigni said the area treated won't get fat cells again; however, he said fat cells in other areas will grow if people don't follow healthy eating and exercise habits.

"The fat won't come back in that area," he said. "Fat cells don't re-grow ... the body distributes fat however it's going to."

There have been about 58 "adverse event" reports made to the FDA by various patients, which may be viewed on the agency's website. The claims vary from excess pain to injuries. Tersigni estimated about a million procedures have been performed.

The cost varies from about $700 for a small application to about $1,000 for a larger one, Tersigni said. Since it is a cosmetic procedure, most insurers likely won't cover it, he said.

Shannon Lyon, one of Tersigni's medical assistants, said she noticed results after one application with Tersigni and would likely have more done. She also said she enjoys its noninvasiveness.

"It's a simple process," Lyon said. "There's no surgical delay. There's really no down time."

Another assistant and patient, Mindi Wilson, said she noticed results as well.

"It's taken out my distinct bulges," Wilson said. "My clothes are fitting better."

Lyon and Wilson agreed the procedure had minimal discomfort, but it disappeared within a couple of weeks. The same area must not be treated within several weeks.

"I can move on to another fat patch in the meantime," Wilson said.

Reporter Emily Thornton can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 249 or at emily.thornton@theworldlink.com or on Twitter: @EmilyK_Thornton.

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